Merck Creates Value for Producers and Consumers with Technology and Biopharmaceuticals

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 09:55:34 CST

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Paul Koffman about combining technology and biopharmaceuticals to create value for producers and consumers.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is talking with Merck Animal Health’s Paul Koffman, about technology Merck Animal Health has been working with to help producers stay ahead of the curve when it comes to looking at animal health issues on individual animals.

“For Merck animal health, our approach has really been to look holistically at that whole health outcome,” Koffman said. “Just a few years ago, we were known specifically as a biopharmaceutical company, but over the last four or five years, we have made some significant investments in building our own technology as well as acquisitions.”

One of those technology investments, Koffman said, is an ear tag that can be used in feedlots to track the activity and temperature of cattle. Koffman said the information collected is compared to “normal” data to identify outliers.

This device can help to find symptoms two to four days earlier than a human would find them, Koffman said, resulting in improved health outcomes.

“We are also saving on that challenge that we have with finding labor,” Koffman said. “Everywhere in the United States today, we seem to have a lot of labor challenges, so really providing a lot of interesting opportunities and then bringing that together is an overarching health approach, when you think about it.”

In 2019, Koffman said Merck animal health acquired a parent company of Allflex, which many producers are familiar with through ear tags.

“As part of that, we acquired a dairy monitoring business,” Koffman said. “So, we are very strong in that space. It has been the foundation.”

Merck is engaged in many other investments over a broad range of species and operations to close the circle on the comprehensive animal health approach regarding combining biopharmaceuticals and technologies.

For cow-calf operations, Koffman said Merck is focusing on using identification methods to collect information on individual animals to learn more about them through their lifecycle.

An example of technologies Merck has adopted to aid the cow-calf sector includes a company they recently acquired called, Vence, which is a technology that tracks animal movement and uses that movement to set up virtual fencing to be used in rotational grazing.

The technology Merck is applying to animal agriculture has an increasing number of benefits, beginning with less labor application and earlier identification of sick cattle for a better health outcome, which eventually results in more pounds to sell when the time comes.

Aside from many benefits for producers, Koffman said the overarching advantage of these technologies lies in providing consumers with valuable information about how their food is raised.

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